Italy blocks and fines MSF humanitarian ship

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Italy has already applied the sanctions provided for in its new immigration decree by blocking the boat for twenty daysor Geo Barentsfrom Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and impose a fine of 10,000 euros on the humanitarian organization for not having provided "the required information" during its last rescue, after having disembarked in Ancona with 48 people rescued at sea.

The NGO reported last night that the Italian authorities had boarded the Geo Barents and they notified the team that the ship was detained and a fine would be applied, in the first provision of the Government of Giorgia Meloni against humanitarian ships operating in the Sicilian channel. "We are currently evaluating what legal actions we can take," the organization reported in a statement.

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Anna Buj

This is the first sample of the new immigration policy of the Italian Government, which does not prevent landings but does significantly complicate the work of the NGOs. The new government decree, which has already been approved by the Parliament of this country, forces humanitarian ships to set course for ports far away from the rescue zones and allows the blockade of ships to be imposed, in addition to administrative fines for the captain of between 10,000 and 50,000 euros.

Under this new regulation, humanitarian ships must head to the assigned port without delay after the first rescue carried out, so they cannot carry out other operations as was the case up to now. They must sail for days to ports in central or northern Italy such as Ancona or La Spezia even when there are bad sea conditions. The Executive's argument is that the centers of Sicily and other regions of southern Italy, the closest to the rescue site, are already congested, so it is preferable that they sail to other ports in the country. This not only increases the costs for the NGOs, but also keeps them away for days from rescue sites.

Organizations must also provide detailed information on their maritime relief activities, which is why the Geo Barents faces blockade and administrative fine. The communication has come after disembarking the 48 rescued migrants on February 17 because, according to the new decree, they would not have transmitted all the required information.

No effects

So far this year, more than twice as many migrants have arrived than in the same period in 2022

Humanitarian organizations believe that this decree will only cause more deaths in the Mediterranean by preventing multiple rescues. He is also against the United Nations, which has called on Italy to withdraw the decree. Volter Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, considers that it is "simply the wrong way to manage a humanitarian crisis."

Meloni's move, however, has failed to slow down the arrival of migrants, as most reach Italy's shores on their own. According to government data, more than 12,600 people have arrived in Italy so far this year, more than double the number in the same period last year. Since January, at least 157 people have lost their lives.

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